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Del Quentin Wilber

“A compelling and multi-layered examination of the near-assassination of President Ronald Reagan.”

—Lou Cannon, author of President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime


Read an excerpt from Rawhide Down
Praise for Rawhide Down
Reviews and Features for Rawhide Down


A minute-by-minute account of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was just seventy days into his first term of office when John Hinckley Jr. opened fire outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, wounding the president, press secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent, and a D.C. police officer. For years, few people knew the truth about how close the president came to dying, and no one has ever written a detailed narrative of that harrowing day. Now, drawing on exclusive new interviews and never-before-seen documents, photos, and videos, Del Quentin Wilber tells the electrifying story of a moment when the nation faced a terrifying crisis that it had experienced less than twenty years before, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

With cinematic clarity, we see Secret Service agent Jerry Parr, whose fast reflexes saved the president’s life; the brilliant surgeons who operated on Reagan as he was losing half his blood; and the small group of White House officials frantically trying to determine whether the country was under attack. Most especially, we encounter the man code-named “Rawhide,” a leader of uncommon grace who inspired affection and awe in everyone who worked with him.

Ronald Reagan was the only serving U.S. president to survive being shot in an assassination attempt.* Rawhide Down is the first true record of the day and events that literally shaped Reagan’s presidency and sealed his image in the modern American political firmament.

*There have been many assassination attempts on U.S. presidents, four of which were successful: Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy. President Theodore Roosevelt was injured in an assassination attempt after leaving office.



Praise for Rawhide Down

“This book is a page-turner from beginning to end and I believe you will learn a lot about an event that came razor-close to changing America forever and certainly altered the presidency of Mr. Reagan. Rich in detail with reporting I have never heard before, Rawhide Down rewards the reader on just about every page. Trust me on this.”

—Bill O’Reilly, author of the forthcoming Killing Lincoln: The Assassination that Changed America Forever

“”Riveting…a fast-paced book that captures many points of view.”

—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Del Quentin Wilber has written a compelling and multi-layered examination of the near-assassination of President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981. As a biographer of Reagan who was at the Washington Hilton Hotel that fateful day, I was fascinated by Wilber’s meticulous reconstruction. He properly credits the valor and judgment of the Secret Service agents who saved Reagan’s life but also analyzes the security deficiencies that made the assassination attempt possible. Wilber reminds us of how close we were to losing Reagan little more than two months into his presidency. His detailed and readable accounts of the surgeries performed on Reagan and Press Secretary James Brady are of particular historical value.”

—Lou Cannon, author of President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime

“The chapters that detail the assassination attempt and its immediate aftermath read like a thriller.”

—David Baldacci, The Washington Post

Rawhide Down is full of spectacular, original reporting.”

—Bob Woodward

“The 96 months of Ronald Reagan’s presidency changed the nation and the world. Del Quentin Wilber’s gripping account of the ‘near assassination’ of the 40th president shows how close the country—and the world—came to missing more than 93 of those months.”

—George F. Will

Rawhide Down is a stunning work. Del Quentin Wilber, with the world-class reporting skills he honed on the police beat and a fine sense of narrative, has taken a story we thought we knew and rendered it wholly fresh, vibrant, and revealing.”

—David Maraniss, author of When Pride Still Mattered

“Riveting.”

New York Post

“This intensely researched account yields an almost moment-by-moment account of the crisis.”

New York Daily News

“A fast-paced read that draws well-crafted characters and gives a vivid sense of the history that brought the story’s heroes and Hinckley together that day.”

The Washingtonian

“In this eye-opening book of solid journalism, we learn just how close Ronald Reagan, code-named “Rawhide” by the Secret Service, came to being the president with the second shortest time in office.”

—Bob Hoover, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“With a reporter’s eye for detail and a screenwriter’s talent for the cinematic, he invests such immediacy in Rawhide Down that the reader is thrust back 30 years in time. “

Richmond Times-Dispatch

“A fascinating glimpse of a pivotal moment in history.”

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“This mesmerizing rendition of the event can be read in one sitting, as Wilber’s accuracy and craft provoke rapt interest.”

Booklist



Reviews and Features for Rawhide Down

Ronald Reagan’s Close Call – CBS Sunday Morning

‘Rawhide Down’ Explores Reagan Assassination Attempt (Fox & Friends)

‘Rawhide Down’ Details Reagan Assassination Attempt (Fox News)

Revisiting The Reagan Shooting In Rawhide Down
Del Quentin Wilber Wilber and Jerry Parr, the head of Reagan’s Secret Service detail at the time of the shooting, speak with NPR’s Ari Shapiro.

Wall Street Journal interview with Del Quentin Wilber and Secret Service agent Jerry Parr

Revisiting the Reagan Assassination Attempt, 30 Years Later (PBS Newshour)

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

CBS Up To The Minute

A Reagan Forum with Del Quentin Wilber – 4/4/11

American Artifacts: Attempted Assassination of Ronald Reagan (C-SPAN)
Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber

Panelists Jerry Parr, Dr. Joseph Giordano, Del Quentin Wilber and Judy Woodruff commemorated the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Reagan on March 30, 1981 at Newseum in Washington, D.C. (C-Span)

Reconstructing the Day Reagan Fell: Chaos After a President’s Shooting. (The New York Times)

Time Magazine features Rawhide Down in their roundup of new books about Ronald Reagan.

National Review interview with Del Quentin Wilber

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Secret Service Audio: The Moment Reagan Was Shot (National Journal)

Obama, Reagan, and Presidential Work Ethic (New York Magazine)

The day that changed presidential security forever (CNN)

When the Secret Service Saved Reagan (The Fiscal Times)

Book chronicles attempt on Reagan’s life (Sun Herald)

In audio, agents save Reagan (Politico)

Reconstructing history, shot by shot (Journal Sentinel)

BOOK REVIEW: When the president was shot (The Washington Times)

Saving President Reagan (Baltimore Sun)

New book explores Ronald Reagan’s shooting (Courier-Journal)

How quick thinking and skill saved Ronald Reagan from assassination (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Book review: ‘Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan,’ by Del Quentin Wilber (Dallas News)

Publishers Weekly Magazine starred review of Rawhide Down.

30 Years Later, Doctor Remembers Assassination Attempt of President Ronald Reagan: MyFoxDC.com

Part 1: Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr
    Part 2: Dr. Joe Giordano

Revealing tapes of ride after 1981 Reagan shooting (Washington Post)

Secret Service tape from Reagan attack is released (Forbes)

Secret Service Audio: The Moment Reagan Was Shot (National Journal)


Enhanced Ebook

Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin WilberRawhide Down is available as an Enhanced Ebook.

 

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Ebook

Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin WilberRawhide Down is available as an Ebook.

 

Buy the ebook:

Buy Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber
Buy Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber
Buy Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber
Buy Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber
Buy Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber

 

 

 

 


Audiobook

Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin WilberRawhide Down is available as an audiobook from Macmillan Audio.
Narrated by Jason Culp          Audio Run Time: 8:00

 

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